2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 47 - Property Law
Article 8 - Owner-Resident Relations
Section 47-8-20 - Obligations of owner.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 47-8-20 (2019)

A. The owner shall:

(1) substantially comply with requirements of the applicable minimum housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(2) make repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a safe condition as provided by applicable law and rules and regulations as provided in Section 47-8-23 NMSA 1978;

(3) keep common areas of the premises in a safe condition;

(4) maintain in good and safe working order and condition electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, if any, supplied or required to be supplied by him;

(5) provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal from the appropriate receptacle; and

(6) supply running water and a reasonable amount of hot water at all times and reasonable heat, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the resident and supplied by a direct public utility connection.

B. If there exists a minimum housing code applicable to the premises, the owner's maximum duty under this section shall be determined by Paragraph (1) of Subsection A of this section. The obligations imposed by this section are not intended to change existing tort law in the state.

C. The owner and resident of a single family residence may agree that the resident perform the owner's duties specified in Paragraphs (5) and (6) of Subsection A of this section and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations and remodeling, but only if the transaction is in writing, for consideration, entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the owner.

D. The owner and resident of a dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the resident is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling only if:

(1) the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the owner and is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by consideration; and

(2) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the owner to other residents in the premises.

E. Notwithstanding any provision of this section, an owner may arrange with a resident to perform the obligations of the owner. Any such arrangement between the owner and the resident will not serve to diminish the owner's obligations as set forth in this section, nor shall the failure of the resident to perform the obligations of the owner serve as a basis for eviction or in any way be considered a material breach by the resident of his obligations under the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act or the rental agreement.

F. In multi-unit housing, if there is separate utility metering for each unit, the resident shall receive a copy of the utility bill for his unit upon request made to the owner or his agent. If the unit is submetered, the resident shall then be entitled to receive a copy of the apartment's utility bill. When utility bills for common areas are separately apportioned between units and the costs are passed on to the residents of each unit, each resident may, upon request, receive a copy of all utility bills being apportioned. The calculations used as the basis for apportioning the cost of utilities for common areas and submetered apartments shall be made available to any resident upon request. The portion of the common area cost that would be allocated to an empty unit if it were occupied shall not be allocated to the remaining residents. It is solely the owner's responsibility to supply the items and information in this subsection to the resident upon request. The owner may charge an administrative fee not to exceed five dollars ($5.00) for each monthly request of the items in this subsection.

G. The owner shall provide a written rental agreement to each resident prior to the beginning of occupancy.

History: 1953 Comp., § 70-7-20, enacted by Laws 1975, ch. 38, § 20; 1987, ch. 297, § 1; 1989, ch. 340, § 3; 1999, ch. 91, § 2.

ANNOTATIONS

The 1999 amendment, effective June 18, 1999, in Subsection F substituted "resident" for "tenant" in the next-to-last sentence and "five dollars ($5.00)" for "two dollars ($2.00)" in the last sentence; and substituted "resident" for "tenant" in Subsection G.

The 1989 amendment, effective June 16, 1989, added Subsection G.

The 1987 amendment, effective June 19, 1987, substituted "Section 47-8-23 NMSA 1978" for "Section 23 of the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act" in Subsection A(2) and added Subsection F.

Loss of use damages are available for reparable property, but not for completely destroyed property. Behrens v. Gateway Court, L.L.C., 2013-NMCA-097, cert. granted, 2013-NMCERT-009.

Loss of use damages are not available for completely destroyed property. — Where plaintiff rented a mobile home unit from defendant; a fire destroyed the mobile home and its contents; and the fire was caused by an electrical short in the wiring of an old air conditioner that had been left under the porch of the mobile home when defendant installed a new air conditioner in the mobile home, plaintiff was not entitled to loss of use damages for plaintiff's completely destroyed property. Behrens v. Gateway Court, L.L.C., 2013-NMCA-097, cert. granted, 2013-NMCERT-009.

Owners required to supply heat, unless specific legal objection. — The legislature intended to require owners to provide reasonable heat, unless they could show some specific law exempting them from the requirement. T.W.I.W., Inc. v. Rhudy, 1981-NMSC-062, 96 N.M. 354, 630 P.2d 753.

Subsection (A)(6) places burden upon owner to show that a law exists which exempts him from providing reasonable heat for the resident. T.W.I.W., Inc. v. Rhudy, 1981-NMSC-062, 96 N.M. 354, 630 P.2d 753.

Loose dogs as unsafe condition. — Under the right circumstances, dogs roaming loose upon the common grounds of a government-operated residential complex could represent an unsafe condition. Castillo v. County of Santa Fe, 1988-NMSC-037, 107 N.M. 204, 755 P.2d 48.

Unsafe condition of common area. — Where a child went through a hole in the fence around his apartment complex playground and was struck by a car and killed, the landlord, who undertook to provide a playground for children in a potentially hazardous area, was under a legal obligation to maintain the playground in a reasonably safe condition, so that children playing on the playground would be unable to escape from the playground and potentially be injured beyond its confines. Calkins v. Cox Estates, 1990-NMSC-044, 110 N.M. 59, 792 P.2d 36.

No right to complain about neighbors. — Section 47-8-39A(3) NMSA 1978 does not bar an owner's otherwise proper action for possession of the premises after termination of a month-to-month residency, where the owner is retaliating against the resident for complaining about noisy neighbors. Casa Blanca Mobile Home Park v. Hill, 1998-NMCA-094, 125 N.M. 465, 963 P.2d 542.

Law reviews. — For survey, "The Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act," see 6 N.M.L. Rev. 293 (1976).

For annual survey of New Mexico law relating to property, see 13 N.M.L. Rev. 435 (1983).

For survey of 1990-91 tort law, see 22 N.M.L. Rev. 799 (1992).

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — Failure of landlord to make, or permit tenant to make, repairs or alterations required by public authority as constructive eviction, 86 A.L.R.3d 352.

Measure of damages for landlord's breach of implied warranty of habitability, 1 A.L.R.4th 1182.

Liability of owner or occupant of premises to fireman coming thereon in discharge of his duty, 11 A.L.R.4th 597.

Applicability of exculpatory clause in lease to lessee's damages resulting from defective original design or construction, 30 A.L.R.4th 971.

Strict liability of landlord for injury or death of tenant or third person caused by defect in premises leased for residential use, 48 A.L.R.4th 638.

Legal aspects of speed bumps, 60 A.L.R.4th 1249.

Liability of landlord for injury or death occasioned by swimming pool maintained for tenants, 62 A.L.R.5th 475.

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